Sunday, February 28, 2010

In Which She Learns Contentment

Yesterday was a blur. A day in which I can barely remember anything.

And what I do remember, is not good.

It started out smartly enough though. The kids had breakfast and more food went into their mouths than on the floor. That's a good start right there. I guess I was fooled into thinking that it was going to be a "good" day as indicated by breakfast's success. How wrong I was.

I was feeling nostalgic as I sipped my chai and had the I-want-to-have-another-baby-now syndrome. Feelings of "why can't I have one NOW?" crowded my thoughts and I felt discontent. Which is not good because from my experience, if a person can't be content with what they HAVE, they'll never be content when they get what they WANT because there's always something else to have. To want. To get. To be. To go after. And the pursuit of contentment is usually the last thing on the list of those kinds of people. Actually, I don't think it's even on their list at all, come to think of it.

So I purposed to work on this lacking attitude in my heart and went on with my day.

As I entertained a phone call from a dear friend who also has small children of her own, I observed out of the corner of my eye a young, wedding-dress-clad (her daily attire of choice) female child flitting quickly to the bathroom with blue hands. Very blue hands. Very blue as in dripping-with-blue hands.

Blue was quickly covering the entire bathroom sink, that's how blue her hands were.

I composed my dignity on the phone and flew on 2 quick-footed-feet to the place where the blue was sure to have come from: the basement.

The Blue Source was no where to be found. And at that point I began to panic and immediately got off the phone. Just then, I found an opened can of Blue Stuff sitting on the the Little Tykes table in Janae's cute little room. Basically, the Blue Stuff was only about twenty-four-inches off of the brand new carpet in Janae's cute room.

And through sovereign and spiritual intervention which I have yet to understand, there was no Blue Stuff dotting or trailing anywhere out of that can of paint; except on the hands of my wedding-dress-clad female child. Who was at that moment getting paint all over the bathroom sink. But the walls, carpet, doors, furniture, siblings, pets, food, shoes, hair, etc., were all Blue Stuff Free.

As I gathered the screwdrivers sitting next to the Blue Stuff that had been used by my clever daughter to pry the lid off the paint can, I quickly put the paint away and scampered back upstairs. In the process of that I spied a piece of glass on the floor that was apparently lonely and waiting for the trash can.

Thinking it to be a wise time to return the call to my dear mother-in-law who had called (as indicated by my caller ID) during the last catastrophe and phone call (it's funny how often catastrophes and phone calls are simultaneously played out), I picked up the phone and dialed the number.

By that point, the bathroom was vacant of the female child and in her place stood a swimming-trunk-clad-male child wearing inter tubes and other fancy swimming paraphernalia. He was just getting in the rapidly filling-with-water tub and looked at me as if I lost my mind when I asked him what he thought he was doing... "Swimming, Mom."

I made a mental note to black-magic-marker "No Swimming Allowed" on the side of the tub but decided it would be futile since the swimming inclined members of our household are yet a little uneducated in the reading department.

Comforting myself that the kid wasn't drowning, wasn't splashing water, wasn't eating soap, wasn't using soap, wasn't wasting soap and wasn't cutting himself with a razor, I ignored the impulse to remove him from the tub. I just did the Bug Eyes Out And Sigh And Say Okay thing.

As I nonchalantly chatted with the grandmother of my adventurous children and listened to her laugh at their antics as I dialogued them through the phone to her, it became too much to stay on the phone and have a swimming child in the bathtub when I observed that my computer had been sabotaged. So I got off the phone and reclaimed rightful ownership of my computer.

But I couldn't reclaim proper function of my computer. Everything was messed up. Caps Lock ON made the letters lowercase and every time I clicked something, a whole new page opened. Hoping my computer-sabotaging child hadn't done merciless and embarrassing things on my Facebook page that had been left open, I was relieved to find that my profile indicated no suspicious activity.

My senses slowly began to feel more sensitive at this point and I could no longer see the value of swimming in the bathtub so I ordered the swimming child out. As those events began to wrap up in the bathroom, I came upon my self-motivated, fully clothed two-year-old who was actively scrubbing the top, front portion of his hair. With shampoo and no water. Unable to rinse him right then, I sent him to the basement to do something like normal kids do. You know, play with toys. How novel would that be? I wondered out loud.

I followed him down later to check on him and found another piece of glass on the floor. I also found a thickly-carpeted-with-legos family room floor. And I also found my cell phone breaking the "Keep Out Of Reach Of Children" rule. I picked it up and checked the call log, making sure none of my children had contacted the police for anything again. Thankfully, the only call they placed was to a Calling Card. At least they hadn't continued on to an international call, I comforted myself with.

I scooped up the Shampooed Head Kid and brought him into the kitchen. I flipped on the water only to send the faucet handle flying. Another indication that our kitchen sink faucet needs to be replaced. NOT fixed: replaced. It's beyond repair; it's been fixed enough times. It needs a complete replacement. (Did you get that yet?)

So since the regular water was inaccessible due to maintenance deficiencies (I didn't marry a plumber), I used the next best option and stuck my child's head under the drinking water faucet which has only one temperature: Refreshingly Cool. He fussed and fumed but I comforted myself with the fact that the next option would've been snow. And the next option after that would've been to just leave the shampoo on his head until his next bath which would probably be who-knows-when. So I was actually being a kind mother and washing the soap out of his hair humanely. Even if the water was cold.

The day continued on in much of the same manner.

3 small children left the house in no coats while wearing their parents' shoes.

Mysterious messes appeared in random places.

My leather shoes were shuffled through mud puddles on trips to the trash can by feet much too small to fit a women's size 8 1/2 shoe.

Mud bricks appeared in neat stacks on the front step outside. (At least they were outside and not inside.)

Streaks of mud and dirt covered both sides of the front door, implying that a mud-covered-child had entered and exited the premises. And probably entered again and was likely roaming free inside the house with mud covered hands.

Legos were generously scattered all over the floor on a regular basis all. day. long.

By nap time, I was so exhausted but had already psyched myself up for a new laundry room so ignored the impulse to snooze while two-thirds of my children contentedly slept in well contained beds.

And by the time the day was done, I had ordered pizza for supper, cleaned the basement, arranged the laundry room and visited a close friend who had just had a baby earlier this week.

As I gazed at the perfect, adorable, sleeping face of the tiny baby girl who fit snugly in my arms, I was half tempted to sneak the baby home in my purse. I had come under the baby spell again and just really wanted another child - especially since my own baby will be THREE in a few months.

Need I remind myself that when my oldest child turned three, I was just weeks away from delivering my third child? Now Alex, my youngest, is that age and... well, it just feels weird.

But, after I got home and happened to spy a spot of Blue Stuff on the bathroom light switch, indicating that my wedding-dress-clad-female-child-with-blue-hands HAD touched something other than just the bathroom sink earlier that day, it triggered something deep inside.

And it reminded me again of my three healthy, adventurous, live-life-to-the-fullest kids. And it made me instinctively sigh with contentment that I have the kids I have and that I only have three of them.


pat ve said...

Contentment! I think this shows how 3 extremely creative children prove the need to clean the house and take baths on Sat. When I was little we had to do it..."just because". They can sure GET you sometimes. I imagine when you went to bed you were relieved to leave yesterday in "the past".

Anonymous said...

Another story full of drama...who said it is boring to be a stay at home mom? Never a dull moment is there? They (you) should write books about the everyday life of a mother of young children....but them isn't that what this blog is all about? love it!
mom (and proud gramma) :)

.:blessedmommy:. said...

Love it! I've been learning contentment lately too...

You have a way of writing about your children that speaks of a deep love yet contains the ability to sigh at all the drama. It's wonderful. :)